Water feeder channel cut from Capels to Wallbridge
A water feeder channel has been created between the new channel at Capels Mill and Wallbridge Lock. The feeder channel now permits water from Capels Mill to reach the Wallbridge pound.
The channel was created using the Swedish designed and built amphibious excavator known as a Truxor. The vehicle/vessel is from the extensive fleet of dredging specialist company Land and Water.
The first two pictures show the arrival, preparation and use of the caterpillar tracked Truxor.
It is seen here fitted with a hydraulic excavation bucket used to create the water feeder channel trough a 30 year build-up of silt, reeds and rubble.
Land and Water’s Senior Contracts Manager Chris Spencer quipped, “It is a brilliant piece of kit that can be used in so many ways… It has more attachments than a Kenwood Chef Food mixer!"
Chris went on to sing the praises of the unit’s operator Damien Hobbis.
"Damien is one of our best operators… he knows and cares about what he does.”
Early starts & backward progress
Damien began work at 7am every day during the past week and made the final break through into the pound above Wallbridge lock at 3:30 on Thursday.
He did this all in reverse gear…
Damien explained the process. “I started from the Dr Newtons Way Bridge, where I was afloat and worked backwards to allow the Capels water to follow me down to Wallbridge”
The final picture was taken at 3:30pm on Thursday as he reversed into the Wallbridge water – job done!
Past, present & future
Stroud District Council's Dave Marshall adds…
"This was a stop gap measure. The problem was that the small pound at Dr Newtons Way was always higher than it should be – due to the canal being silted up and blocked by landslips. As soon as we opened up the new cut at Capels Mill, the level dropped to something nearer the design depth. As a consequence, there was no feed through to Wallbridge. If we hadn’t urgently started back pumping, the whole length from Dr Newton’s Way to Wallbridge would have dried up and a lot of fish would have died.
"Obviously we couldn’t back pump indefinitely, so we commissioned Land & Water to cut a trench through the silt. This means that water from Capels Mill will now flow through to Wallbridge instead of weiring over into the River Frome at Arundel Aqueduct.
"We hope to dredge the channel through Cheapside either late this year or early next. Design work is underway and we have to obtain planning consent before starting. Unfortunately, we have to be certain that whatever we do does not destabilise the slope above, where the landslips had already occurred. For this reason, the dredged channel is almost certain to be as shallow and narrow as possible."